Don’t Let Your Donors Pack Up and Leave

Did you receive an influx of new donors after your year-end appeal? That’s great, but now you need to make sure those donors don’t leave you.

Retention rates for new donors are horrible. Actually, retention rates in general are bad. Nonprofit Donor Retention Primer

One of the biggest reasons donors flee is because they believe the organization doesn’t do a good job of staying in touch and keeping them engaged. Why Donors Stop Giving  

This should be easy to fix.

Try to engage with your donors by email once a week. If you use social media, you can communicate more often – generally once a day on Facebook and a couple of times a day on Twitter. If your donors don’t communicate electronically, keep in touch by mailing newsletters, postcards, and handwritten notes.

Use a communications calendar
This will make it easier for you to come up with and organize your content. Make it cross channel and include email, social media, website, and print. Figure out what to send out and when. Here is more information on Creating a Communications Calendar 

Read on for some ways you can stay in touch with your donors throughout the year.

Newsletters can be a great way to engage, but they are often boring and focused too much on the organization. Be sure to tell stories that show how your donors are helping you make a difference.

Another issue with newsletters is they are too long. Keep them to a few articles and include some engaging photos.

You’ll need to figure out whether it’s best to do your newsletter by print, email, or a combination of both.

Send your donors brief updates via email, social media, or postcard. This is a great way to complement your newsletters or stay in touch if you choose not to do a newsletter.

Say thank you

Plan to send a thank you message to your donors each month. Share a success story and let them know that you couldn’t have accomplished that without their support.

Always find ways to say thank you.

Conduct short surveys. Ask new donors what drew them to your organization. You can also ask people their opinion on an issue or a question about your communications, such as do they read your annual report?

Make your supporters feel included. One nonprofit that sells holiday cards asks folks to vote on their favorite designs.

Advocacy alerts
Send out an advocacy alert on a piece of legislation that affects the people you serve. Then report back on the results. Be sure to thank your donors for getting involved.

Share photos and videos
Share some engaging photos. Social media is great for sharing photos.

You can also share videos of the people you serve participating in activities or better yet saying thank you to your donors! Make sure your videos are high quality and keep them short.

Testing time

You’ll want to measure how people respond to your messages. Perhaps short weekly updates get a better response than your monthly newsletter.

If you are not getting much of a response from your surveys, either do them differently or find another way to engage.

Keep it up!

It’s very important for you to communicate regularly with your donors and keep them engaged so they don’t decide to pack up and leave.
How do you stay in touch with your donors?

Photo by Sam Howzit via Flickr


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